Khader talks tough, says ambulance staff, paramedics should be disciplined

The protest by the 108 Arogya Kavacha ambulance drivers and paramedics has not affected the services of ambulances across the State. The KSRTC drivers, drivers from Nagumagu ambulance and drivers of the Health Department are being pressed into service, Health Minister U T Khader said.

Briefing media persons here on Friday, he said, “The government has implemented Arogya Kavacha for the benefit of the common man. The drivers and paramedics serving in the ambulance should be disciplined. The proposal to pay for the overtime work of the ambulance drivers and paramedical staff was accepted. There was a delay in submission of audit report conducted by an outside agency, to the Finance Department. The overtime wages will be released to the protesting drivers and paramedics, if they sign the conditions put forth by the Health Department through the management GVK EMRI. Pending salary, dues and overtime wages have been released for those, who have accepted the conditions put forth by the department. However, it is not right on the part of the drivers and paramedics to continue the protest for the existence of their union,” he said.

“The union has been demanding to pay overtime wages for the additional hours of work to the workers. The government  has accepted it and released Rs 6.6 crore for the payment of additional hours of work. In spite of it, they decided to go ahead with the protest, which cannot be tolerated and hence, I decided withhold the released amount,” he said.

“The department has  asked the GVK EMRI to take an undertaking from its staff that they will be maintain discipline, wear white coat, shoe, maintain the ambulances clean and will not enter Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha to press for their demands,” the minister said.

“If they continue their agitation and try to disrupt the services, then ESMA will be invoked against them and the government will not hesitate to stop the service and take up recruitment within a month to restart the services,” he warned.

“We don’t want to harm the ambulance drivers and paramedics. However, they should also be disciplined while serving the people,”  the minister said.

Organ transplant

The minister said that the department will initiate a move to bring in changes in the Organ Transplant Act to make organ transplant easy among the living unrelated donors. There are a few hurdles in the organ transplant process, to the needy, which needs to overcome, he added.

He said a meeting of the heads of all medical colleges in Karnataka will be convened in Bengaluru on February 4, to discuss on the adoption of primary health centres (PHCs) by the medical colleges. Owing to loopholes in the system, Arogya Bandhu scheme (under which the State government partners with private hospitals in the running of primary health centres) has been stopped, he noted.

“Yettinahole project will be a setback for BJP in the Zilla and Taluk Panchayat elections. The project was envisaged when the BJP was in power in the state,” Khader added. 

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